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martin swan

Luigi Salsedo and Andreas Renisto

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Thanks Bob - brilliant ..... this also bears out what I heard about Tait selling Sartory bows.

It's interesting to me that he lumps Salsedo and Tassini with Dante Guastalla, who is a solid historical maker listed for instance in Marlin Brinser, unlike the other two.

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I wonder if Peter Ratcliffe is listening in on this? I'll be on the next train to Brighton with them if he thinks it will help.

Ben/Martin

Dendro might help, although I haven't tested all that many Scottish violins.

Wood used by Englsh makers in the early 20th century tends to come from a specific area, which is also common to many Markneukirchen violins made at the same time, and it is also seen on some contemporary Italian work. This widespread use of wood from a distinct Northern alpine geographical area at the time (unlike in previous centuries) makes it difficult to draw firm suggestions from dendro as far a the instrument's country of origin in these cases.

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To answer one of your other points, Rushworth & Draper Apollo models were their highest grade of imported instruments, possibly finished off in their workshops. It is the Ardeton models that were made in Liverpool as i understand it.

Dave - absolutely spot on. There's a word in American politics for saying something that you know isn't true adn keeping your integrity all the same. Can you let that apply to my off-the-cuff remarke!

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So Dante Guastalla is a real maker? Guasta means ruined or broken in Italian. Thought that was suspicious.

Guastalla is a town and in the province of Reggio Emilia in Emilia- Romagna, Italy.

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From a 1934 Strad. Jim Tait.

A quick look at the Jim Tait advert may have scuppered any chances of successful dendrochronology. Tait imported Italian wood, so there's a good chance that if he had a hand in the making of these things, they will dendro perfectly well as Italian! The plot thickens...

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Nobody know if Salsedo and Salzedo are two entirely different surnames ??? Anyone??

The reason i ask is that a few pages back from the Jim Tait advert there is an article titled ` The Considerations of the Luthiers Art` by Auguste Tolbecque, which is translated by S.L Salzedo. Just sounds like the same name as Luigi Salsedo with a sight variation. I do know SL Salzedo wrote at least one book on Violinmaking.

Correction book on Paganini!

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Hi Bob,

Don't know the answer to that one in this particular context, but I do know that the two spellings both exist, I've also seen Salcedo but presumably this is Spanish.

What language did Salzedo translate the Tolbeque book into?

Ben - a minor correction, we know that Tait imported wood which he claimed to be Italian! If he was a straight up geezer then his Italian wood was probably Italian and his Salsedos were probably made in Italy. If however he was a bit of a Del Boy then his Salsedos might well have been kit-built by cottars outside Melrose and his Italian wood may have come (like so much Italian wood these days) from the Carpathians! If we could get our hands on some of that wood we could dendro that and advance our sense of his general honesty ......!!

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Martin, but to give Jim Tait some credit, we don't seem to be in any doubt that he imported proper Sartory bows. There has been much said in the past (and present) about whether a violin made in the white and sent to Italy for its varnish is an 'Italian violin'. In some warped ethic of a bygone era, might it be said that a violin made entirely out of Italian wood must therefore be an Italian violin? (Even if its knocked up in Melrose or wherever?)

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Martin , to be clear are we wondering whether Salsedo existed or whether he made violins and exported them to Scotland???

He certainly appears to have existed, made many Mandolins. But ive always thought some unscrupulous people have fabricated the fact that they made violins (Neopolitan Mandolin makers). I know some did for sure . But i can imagine it was an easy thing to get away with. These Salsedo violins all seem to appear quite late in his career.What the earlier date for a violin you`ve came across???

From this 1896 edition of Gazetta Ufficiale Del Regno d`Italia

i found this:

post-3446-0-39941800-1349636332_thumb.jpg

post-3446-0-31745100-1349636344_thumb.jpg

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That’s assuming that Luigi Salsedo, the well established mandolin maker, is the same as the violin maker, if he exists. The fact that some of the violin labels say Luigi Salsedo, filius Luigi, leaves the question open, I think. I noticed a Christie’s auction for a Luigi Salsedo violin, where the listing said “Possibly Italian.†Just a thought. :huh:

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Actually the question I'm posing is whether these violins were made in Italy or not. If so, who made them? If not, who made them? Personally I think that the "Luigi Salsedo" name was borrowed from the 19th century Neapolitan and a son was invented in order to create a credible trade name.

I suspect some overall and all-encompassing jiggery-pokery, but maybe not on the part of Jim Tait, who appears to have been very reputable.

This has been a fascinating thread and I'm very grateful for all the information that's come out.

As Addie points out, the auction houses don't have a clue, and most of the people selling them don't seem to have a clue either. I count myself in that number by the way!

I feel we can discount the Andrew Smillie theory ....

Incidentally Lambert Houniet has replied and says that Gordon Stevenson is mistaken - he didn't have any dealings with the Andrew Smillie estate.

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It would appear that there existed a luthier named Luigi Salsedo in Napoli around the turn of the century, a maker of respected Neapolitan (of course) mandolins. Aside from owning a couple examples myself, I find he was mentioned in Paul Sparks' book, "The Classical Mandolin," as being a maker of superior quality instruments in that city. Whether he made violins is not a question I'm in a position to answer.

As far as an English connection might go, I'm aware that at least one Neapolitan mandolin atelier, DeMeglio, had an English distributor, Albin (sp?) Voigt. There are a lot of Voigt-labeled mandolins to be found, typically in England (!), and a number without the Voigt label as well. Mandolins were quite popular for a decade or so around the turn of the last century, and decent ones abound, as do examples better serving as a source of heat in winter. One might assume a fairly robust supply chain in place; no reason to exclude violins from the process.

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That's the way I'm thinking too .... it seems credible that a mandolin factory might change its production to violins as fashions changed.

Incidentally, so far all the Salsedos and Renistos we have documented are dated between 1925 and 1929. Would be great to find other dates ....

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That's the way I'm thinking too .... it seems credible that a mandolin factory might change its production to violins as fashions changed.

Incidentally, so far all the Salsedos and Renistos we have documented are dated between 1925 and 1929. Would be great to find other dates ....

There's a 1932 coming up at the Brombay lot 265... soundholes really rather pretty by comparison to others. Still ugly though.

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I don't expect to see you bidding on it then!

I imagine you find it ugly in relation to the makers it appears to be referencing. I just see "my kind of fiddle", clean work, great spruce and unpretentious varnish (not antiqued) - I anticipate good sound and good value. Must be the presbyterian in me .....

Bonhams sold a 1922 Renisto, so that gives us 1922 to 1932.

Ben, does your new avatar show you retouching something Italian?

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Martin, I should wash my mouth out with soap and water - a late night and off the cuff remark, but I don't think I would have stuck this long in this conversation if I didn't think these had a charm about them!

That avatar is the beginnings of a fine (and somewhat famous) double bass - a Maggini copy in the loosest sense of the word!

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I picked up my copy of the new Brompton's Book of Violin and Bow Makers today, and looked up Salsedo:

SALSEDO see TAIT

I looked up Tait

TAIT, Jim

fl.c.1915 Ancrum, Roxburghshire, Scotland UK

Mainly an importer and dealer of instruments, some of which may have been varnished by him. Used the name 'Salsedo' or 'Saratelli' on labels.

Nice to know we we got there in the end.... we never did mention Saratelli though... :wacko:

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Hi Ben,

Yes this is pretty much where everything has led - the latest gossip is that Tait was thought to have had a big tub of Harris of Newcastle varnish that was a bit off! The colours are all a bit different but the varnish was the same, and never dried properly.

What about Andreas Renisto?

And the big question remains unanswered - where did he import the white violins from? He said Italy - in all other aspects of his business he seems to have been very reputable.

We've put a letter in the Southern Reporter (Borders local newspaper) to try and track down some descendants of Tait and see if there's any documentation, sales receipts for bulk orders of white violins etc ....

NEVER heard of Saratelli!

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Brompton's book once more...

SARATELLI, Carlo Antonio

c.1914 Modena Italy

Cited by Vannes and Henley. Label used by Jim Tait of Roxburghshire, Scotland in imported wholesale work. See under that name.

Reading between the lines, that suggests they ain't seen one neither... For what its worth, someone put a label like that in a violin once: http://www.christies.com/lotfinder/LotDetailsPrintable.aspx?intObjectID=953893 possibly even with a Hill Number P103 on the fingerboard...

Curiously, no reference in this wonderful bible for Andreas Renisto. Damn! it didn't take me long to find a missing "maker". Not quite the kind of triumph that induces me to put my shirt over my head and do a lap of victory around the football pitch, but this is a fantastically better book than Henley all the same.

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Well, it looks like we have come to the end of the path for now...

But from all the pieces of info put together, it does seem very close to the old stories that they were varnished up and sold by Jim Tait.

As I mentioned in my earlier post, i have only ever seen one that I could believe was Italian, the others not really. It is likely that the white instruments came from a variety of places over the years, and perhaps we will never know where. Well done Martin for running an advert, hopefully something might come of it!

I have never heard of Saratelli either, the plot thickens!

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